Re: Bow down before the market god
I won't repeat myself again after this, but anything with VAT on in a member state can not have its rate cut to less than 5%.
HM Gov did not lie, they could not go below 5% without either leaving or getting cross-state agreed and ratified permission; the latter had been fought/lobbied for for many years and was in fact in the very slow pipeline, eventually it might have been allowed but not in 2016, and I don't think even now.
If you negotiated exemptions when joining - as the UK did on food, books and children's clothing - then you can keep those VAT free. But once you add VAT to a formerly exempt product - as the UK did on household gas & electricity - you can't then remove it (hence the 5% rate we still have on household energy bills - HM Gov could now drop this, but choose not to do so).
Ireland included sanitary products (and "Supplies of wax candles and night-lights that are white and cylindrical, excluding candles and night-lights that are decorated, spiralled, tapered or perfumed") on their zero-rated list when they joined, the UK did not.